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Saturday is usually Chris's night to share recipes, make us pea-green with envy at his talents, and have us drooling for his latest creation.  Since I was asked to step up to the kitchen table tonight, I thought I'd honour his hard my own fashion.

We all like to brag about what we can do.  Tonight, though, let's brag about our first attempts at cooking....our successes and our epic failures.  For example, my late sibling was gawdawful in the kitchen (and the laundry, and the pantry, and get the idea.  "Inept" didn't begin to cover it!); she was so dreadful, my mum swore she couldn't boil water without burning it.  Only a slight exaggeration, that.

Me?  Oh, I've had a few epic flops in my time, too.  Follow me over the Orange Cheese Curl Of Doom.......

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

My mum started teaching me to cook the summer I was eight years old.  I had always been welcome in her kitchen, to observe, to "help", and to ask any question I wanted, as long as it was sensible.  Mum was endlessly patient with me, and gave me answers that made sense to me, explaining what the different terms were, what the tools did, why we did one thing one way, and another thing a completely different way.

That summer, she taught me to bake my first batch of cookies....lacy oatmeal cookies that resembled Queen Anne's Lace.  They were chewy when still warm, but settled into a crispy, chewy goodness when they cooled.  We made a few dozen that were gone by that night. Success!!

I learned to make coffee in a stove top percolator.  Cold, fresh water, so many scoops of coffee, bring it to a boil, until it just starts to perk, turn down the heat and let it perk for just the right number of minutes.  After all these years, I can still do it, and I still make a kickass cup of java.  Starbucks ain't got nuthin' on this girl!

Soft cooked eggs?  Got it.  Hard cooked eggs?  Done!  Scrambled?  How many?  Bacon?  Done to perfection.  All easy-peasy.

But.  And there is always a "but" isn't there?  Pancakes were my undoing.  Just when I thought I had this cooking thing down cold....pancakes proved to be my nemesis.


One fine Sunday, I went to Mass early and came home to a still-quiet house.  In my innocence, and out of the kindness of my gentle heart, I decided to make pancakes for my loving parents.  Put the mix together according to the instructions.  Got out the skillet and the spatula and a plate to hold my finished masterpieces.

It was at that point that things went....awry.  Now I knew that you needed some shortening to keep the little blighters from sticking.  So, I used some from the little tin on the back of the stove.  Bacon grease, right?  Ummm....not quite.  As I later learned, it was leftover chicken fat from dinner the night before.  But that wasn't the end of my misadventure.  Oh, no.

Hot grease, batter ladled in, all is set....except....didn't mum put a lid on things she wanted to cook all through??  Yes, she did!  Makes sense, so I shall do the same.

So there we have, in all their disgusting glory, pancakes fried in chicken fat, with a lid on them to "help" them along.

It was right about that time that mum, having smelled the coffee, came wandering in to see what was going on in her kitchen.

"What in the name of Almighty God are you doing???!!!???"

"I'm makin' pancakes!" I replied cheerfully.

"What is that smell??"


"No, that other smell.  What else did you cook?  It smells like....what did you use for shortening?"


The poor woman struggled to keep a straight face, but then she noticed the lid on the skillet.

"Why is the lid on there?"

"So they'll cook you do for....mum, what's wrong?"

What's wrong was the poor woman was choking, trying not to laugh at my sorry self.  She barely succeeded, aided by a ''coughing fit'' and the offer to finish cooking breakfast if I'd go get the others to come downstairs.

Until her dying day, they were referred to as my speciality..."Steamed Pancakes".

Goddess, but they were awful!!!

So.  What did you first cook?  Did it turn out well?  Did you miss by a mile, or a heartbeat?  Did your family let you live it down?

Do tell.  I'm waiting with worms on my tongue.  You know....baited breath.

Carry on kids...share what you got...what'ya know...what'ya think....what'ya got?

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